Substrate: a continuing symposium, 2014-15

Since January 2014  a cross-disciplinary group of researchers from CCW, led by Stephen Farthing, Dan Sturgis and Chris Wainwright, have invited a number of external guest speakers to help them to reflect on the role of the substrate in the construction and presentation of the artifact.

To date they have considered the substrate as a surface or background that exists, not simply as a physical support but an integral part of our understanding of the image. Each of the three Subtrates Symposia has the same theme of exploring the substrate, each set of speakers bring something new to the symposia.

The group started with, more or less, the shared assumption that the substrate of the projected image was the surface the image was landed on. It could be a silver screen, a brick wall or the palm of the hand. In the case of photography, writing, drawing and printmaking it was usually, but not always, paper – the tattoo for example is presented in living skin. Although canvas, wood, metal and the wall have been the substrates most commonly used by painters – we know thin oil paint happily floats on a substrate of water. So it is to explore not only the past but where images might land in the future.

Occasional meetings will continue through 2014, and by early 2015 Farthing, Sturgis and Wainwright hope to publish their findings. Any enquiries about the project can be directed to Stephen Farthing.

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